| 8.6°C Dublin

Expertise of diaspora to boost drive for recovery

IRELAND's diaspora has become a valuable asset in pulling the country out of recession, it was claimed yesterday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin revealed that a number of initiatives by key business people and cultural figures around the world have focused on our economic recovery.

He claimed the Global Irish Economic Forum, held at Farmleigh House last year, transformed Ireland's relationship with its diaspora.

"The Irish worldwide embraced the spirit of Farmleigh by actively contributing to the debate on Ireland's future and, in particular, by establishing a range of new and innovative local initiatives," said Mr Martin.

"Also, to a much greater extent than before, many state and private-sector organisations recognise that the enhancement of the relationship with the diaspora is proving a valuable asset in Ireland's economic recovery -- in particular in providing a competitive edge in certain key markets."

Mr Martin was introducing the report, The Global Irish Economic Forum -- One Year On. It outlines developments on several issues discussed at Farmleigh such as culture, innovation, tourism, green tech, financial services, agriculture and food, and a new strategy for Asia and emerging markets.

The minister said significant progress has been achieved by the Government and the private sector on a number of initiatives, including:

  • Establishment of a Global Irish Network. More than 300 influential figures from 37 countries host meetings in key markets, including London, Paris, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. They gather international expertise on how to work towards economic recovery.
  • Development and expansion of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) in Silicon Valley and the opening of the Irish Innovation Centre in California. Senior executives from some of the Valley's leading corporations are helping Ireland address the challenges of embracing new technology opportunities.
  • Creation of the Farmleigh Fellowship in Singapore. The graduate scheme is giving up to 25 Irish participants the opportunity to work and study in Asia and Ireland.
  • Establishment of Gateway Ireland aimed at creating a new high quality Irish portal website.
  • Setting up The Ireland Funds, which examines how younger members of the diaspora can contribute effectively to Ireland, both culturally and economically.

Elsewhere, the Government appointed Gabriel Byrne as Ireland's first Cultural Ambassador. Culture Ireland is also developing a special programme for 2011 to showcase Irish arts and culture throughout the US.

Mr Martin added: "This progress report demonstrates the commitment made to Farmleigh participants that their ideas would not simply be a report on a shelf but would be followed up by the Government at the highest level."

Irish Independent